Driving while drowsy may cause truckers, and other motorists, to experience a range of effects, which could contribute to causing serious collisions.
At one point or another in the course of their lives, most people in Missouri, and elsewhere, have been drowsy. Although this sleepy state is usually just an indication that a person is fatigued, drowsiness can be highly dangerous for motorists. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drowsy drivers are involved in up to 6,000 fatal collisions each year. The risk of being involved in fatigue-related accidents may be greater for commercial drivers, who often spend long hours driving throughout the state, and across the country.
In order to reduce driver fatigue, and thus the odds of trucking accidents, there are federal rules in place to regulate truckers’ workweeks and rest requirements. The New York Times reports that truckers are not permitted to drive more than 11 hours on any given day. Furthermore, they must allow for at least one 30-minute break in their schedules. Truckers are not permitted to drive more than 70 hours in a workweek. After reaching the 70-hour mark, truck drivers have a mandatory 34-hour resting period.
Despite these regulations, however, some truckers may still be overly tired when hitting the road. As a result, fatigue-related accidents may occur, which could result in serious injuries or death for the truckers themselves, as well as for other motorists and passengers.
Effects of drowsy driving
The risk posed by falling asleep at the wheel is rather obvious. The effects of drowsiness, however, are less familiar. These effects, for some drivers, can be similar to those of alcohol consumption. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drivers who have been awake for 18 hours have an equal crash risk as those with a BAC level of .08 percent.
Drowsiness can have a range of effects on truckers, and other motorists. This includes slowed reflexes and reaction times, as well as decreased attentiveness. People who driver while drowsy may also experience impaired decision-making and reduced attention on the task of driving. Like the effects of alcohol consumption, the effects of drowsiness and driver fatigue commonly contribute to causing auto collisions.
Seeking legal representation
When drivers or passengers are injured in trucking accidents, they commonly need extensive medical treatment and care. As a result, they often incur undue medical expenses, and other damages. In cases when a drowsy, or otherwise negligent, trucker is responsible for causing the collision, the driver or trucking company may be held liable. Therefore, those who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from working with an attorney. A lawyer may help them understand their rights, as well as explain their options for pursuing financial compensation.